Not long ago, I studied medicine.
It was terrible, what the body told.
I'd look inside another person's mouth
And see the desolation of the world.
I'd see his genitals and think of sin.
Because my body speaks the stranger's language,
I've never understood those nods and stares.
My parents held me in their arms, and still
I think I've disappointed them; they care
And stare, they nod, they make their pilgrimage
To somewhere distant in my heart, they cry.
I look inside their other-person's mouths
And see the sleek interior of souls.
It's warm and red in there — like love, with teeth.
I've studied medicine until I cried
All night. Through certain books, a truth unfolds.
Anatomy and physiology,
The tiny sensing organs of the tongue —
Each nameless cell contributing its needs.
It was fabulous, what the body told.
Defending you, my country, hurts
My eyes. I see the drums, the glory,
The marching through the gory
Unthinkable mud of soldier's guts